The Eternal -- Part 2
By Carol Zeltman

DISCLAIMER: ROAR and it's characters are the property of Universal Television and Sea Change Productions. No infringement on copyright is intended.
Story Rating: WARNING! Some ADULT CONTENT and SEXUAL situations.
(Rated "R" by author)
This picks up NEAR the end of the episode "The Eternal", the last episode thus far aired by FOX. Beginning directly after the confrontation between Conor and Longinus.

Fergus drags Conor outside from Longinus' lair, the storm rages on, lashing both men and their mounts with whipping rain and wind. Fergus leads him to the horses tied up to a nearby tree. Conor is still furious and dark thoughts fill his mind concerning Longinus and Diana. He grimaces in pain as he starts to pull himself up into his saddle. The sword slash to his right-side waist starting to badly sting as the rainwater quickly washes away the blood. Fergus has been watching Conor closely, seeing the moods play across the young man's face. Noticing the wince, he shouts above the wind,

"What's wrong lad? Are you hurt?"

"It's nothing, just a scratch.... lets go! " Conor yanks the reins around and kicking sharply, points his horse back the way he had come. Fergus hurries to keep up, still watching Conor closely.

Back at Cathbod, the Druid fortress, Catlin is speaking with Molly, "I hope Conor hasn't gotten into more than he can handle. That Longinus is pure evil."

Molly glances towards the doorway, hoping to see Conor & her Da returning, "I know this murder of the Father has cut him to the heart. He and the Father had a special relationship, what with Conor being responsible for him being saved and brought here at all. The Father had a tender spot for Conor as well, even though he never spoke directly to me of it. I know this will leave him in pain for sometime yet."

Catlin, also glancing to the doorway, expectantly, "Fergus will bring him back to us. We'll just have to be strong for him and help him past all the pain. What will the Druids do for a Father now, will they begin to search again?" "I'm just a novice here Catlin. What the Arch Elders plan or do I'm not sure. But we'll all have to carry on as best we can. Do you hear that wind and rain?! Even the *elementals* are raging at the dark deed done here this night."

Back out in the storm the two men are racing madly through the rain drenched meadows towards Cathbod. The rain and howling wind draining the anger from Conor's body, he begins to slow. Fergus catches up to Conor and grabs the horse's mane, reining the horse in to a stop. Fergus shouts over the wind to Conor,

"What are you doing Conor? Trying to kill the horses and us?! Slow down lad! The ground is wet and treacherous! We should find shelter and wait out the worst of it." At first Conor shoots him an angry glance, annoyed at being held up, but the pain in his side reminds him that maybe hard riding in a devil-storm isn't the best thing to do after all. Swallowing his annoyance and looking around, he spots a small overhang by a ravine to the left of where they stood. Pointing to the spot so Fergus can see,

"You're right Fergus, we can wait in there." Both men quickly guide their mounts to the spot and dismount, tying the horses securely to the tree branch. Fergus sees Conor holding his side and grimacing again as they pull their blankets from the saddlepacks and duck under the overhang. Rain and wind still whipping and crashing of thunder sounding all about. "Now don't you tell me it's just a scratch......sit down and let me look at you." Conor offers no remark and grunts-- sitting down hard, half collapsing against the far wall.

"That devil would have killed you, you know. Fighting out of pure anger without using your head will get you killed quicker than falling on your own sword."

"I don't need a lecture Fergus", he grimaces as Fergus spreads open his leather tunic, some of the leather sticking to the wound, tearing it open and starting the bleeding again.

"It's not too deep, just long but you need a bandage on this or you'll bleed to death before we can get back. Are you finished being stubborn now and let me wrap you up?" Conor doesn't answer, just tilts his head back up against the wall as Fergus rips a length of blanket into a long strip and begins to wind it around the lad's waist.

"He shouldn't have died Fergus, he was only seven years old. Longinus was supposed to come for me, even Diana came to warn the Father and me that's what was planned." Giving a disgusted look, Fergus retorts, "Well, did you think she might have been sent to mislead you? I thought Diana was in league with that devil?!"

"The Father seemed to believe her, especially after she exposed that spy at Cathbod."

Finishing the bandaging and examining his efforts, Fergus commands, "Now don't go bleed'in anymore, you'll ruin my best efforts to save your life."

Conor half grins and looks Fergus in the eye, "You're always saving me, aren't you Fergus?"

"Aye, you need a lot of sav'in so it seems. Now get some rest, I'll watch for the storm to pass." Conor closes his eyes but doesn't sleep. His thoughts remain tormented with visions of Longinus and the Father. Imagining the murder he didn't prevent and wondering how Glas, really a child of seven, faced his murderer. The boy looked peaceful when found, just lying on his stomach, as if asleep. Death wasn't apparent until Conor picked him up off the floor and the boy's head lolled at an impossible angle, neck broken cleanly at the base. Conor relived that moment of finding the boy dead and the same sick pit reopened in his stomach. Involuntarily a moan escaped him. Ever vigilant Fergus, hearing the moan, comes over to Conor's side.

"Is that paining you lad?" gently feeling the bandage over the slash wound, checking for fresh blood. Startled to alertness and out of his imaginings Conor replies,

"No, it's all right. I was just thinking...about this night.... "

"Well, the storm is heading West. Give it another little while and you get some more rest, then we can start back again. THIS time traveling at a decent pace." Standing up and heading outside he calls over his shoulder, " I'm going to check the horses."

Conor lies back against the wall and tries not to think on this night's horrors.

Back at Cathbod, the druids and their novices solemnly go about their duties, preparing the pallet with the body of the Father lying peacefully upon it, at the top of the great room. Catlin and Molly stand off to the side of the room as Tully, freshly bandaged up himself from the knife wound he had, joins them. They silently watch the proceedings and try to stay out of the way of the solemn bustle. Molly thinks to herself, 'Please bring Conor back safely to me Father. I promise I'll obey your last wishes for me to join with him. Just don't let that sorcerer Longinus take him from me... and my dear Da, please guard him as well...' An elder Druid approaches the small group, "Molly, child, when Conor returns we'll complete the marriage ceremony as was the Father's wishes. Prepare yourself." Then turns to Catlin,

"Catlin, can you come with me? Tully, do you mind waiting?"

"No -- it's okay, I'll ask if I can help the others with the preparations." Both women retreat to a nearby room.

Catlin hands Molly her veil, "I know you said this was a symbolic marriage with Conor, but what exactly does that mean?" Molly smiles and says, "It means we'll be husband and wife and care for each other as any other couple would." Pressing the point, Catlin asks, "In every way husband and wife? Or just in name only?" Blushing, Molly replies, "Catlin, that's between Conor and I. The Father didn't require that we physically join, but according to clan tradition, this marriage is more like a serious betrothal. And that means that Conor has the right to lie with me if he chooses." Catlin boldly, "And what if he DOES choose to?"

Molly arranges the veil over her hair, "Then I can't refuse him." Catlin's blue eyes twinkling, a slow grin spreading across her face, "Would you WANT to refuse him?" Molly, now smiling and blushing profusely, replies softly, "No."

The storm has now subsided and both men mount up and continue toward Cathbod just 2 miles away. Fergus turns to Conor as they ride, "Molly and Catlin will be worry'n about you. You DO plan to go through with the ceremony -- don't 'ya?"

Sighing in reply, "Aye Fergus, I gave my word to the Father."

Looking smug, with a quirky grin under his mustache, "Good. My Molly could do far worse."

"Thanks for your confidence in me Fergus!", Conor grins, wincing a little as the horse jolts him. Seeing the reaction, Fergus's concerned look replaces the smug,

"How's the wound? Is it still dry?" Conor, feeling, rather than looking, "Oh I'm all right, just a little sore." Looking ahead to the path, Fergus asks, "When are ya planning we leave for the Sanctuary?" Conor looks up to the starry sky , "As soon as tomorrow, weather permitting."

The riders continue on to their goal.

Back at the Roman fortress Longinus and Diana are just finishing a late supper. Longinus leans over the cushions to Diana, brushing her hair from the side of her face with his long fingers, "Are you ready for desert? We can retire to the bed chamber and have you apologize in a creative way for betraying me to the Druid King."

Diana snaps her head up and stares him in the eye, "I told you, I meant only to stop you from killing Conor. Making him a martyr now would weaken our position and strengthen the resistance movement's. We're already having problems getting re-supplied with soldiers from Rome. Another set back and we'll get no help at all!"

Longinus rears back, a menacing smile playing across his lips," What do I care for your troubles Diana? You're a queen in search of a kingdom, while I'm an immortal searching for his salvation and release. Which do you think I count as the greater goal?" Then grabbing her by the back of her hair and pulling her down on the cushions, he looms over her, growling, "Your petty intrigues are but an annoyance to me... but your body is a pleasant diversion...." He kisses her ferociously on the mouth, smothering the breath from her and pressing his full body length into hers down deeply into the cushions. Gasping, Diana struggles to breathe and clutches at his tunic with her nails. Releasing her mouth only from his embrace, Longinus pulls the tunic from her shoulders, exposing her breasts and bends to his task of seduction. Diana involuntarily responds, quaking with a sudden desire and embracing him roughly in return. Their passion ignited, both bodies are quickly disrobed and entwined upon the cushions as the full moon rises silently outside the tall chamber window.

The Druidic marriage ceremony is completed without further delay or incident, and Conor is given a healing treatment for the slash wound, rendering him whole and hale again. After a leisurely two-day journey, the Conor party, now including Molly are newly arrived at the Sanctuary. Daniel and John, two men of the camp, hurry to meet the returning group and smartly take the reins of both Catlin & Molly's horses while they dismount. Everyone else dismounts in turn. Daniel smiling to Conor, "Welcome back Conor, you were all missed!"

Conor smiling in return, his fast-healing wound forgotten, "Good to be home Daniel, we missed all of you as well!" spoken in earnest and accompanied with a friendly slap to the shoulder. Then, smile fading, "Daniel, could you give the word to gather the camp? We have some news from Cathbod about the Father ... and "looking over to Molly, "some other news as well." Daniel nods assent and leads the horses to the pen.

Fergus grabs Conor's arm and pulls him aside away from the others, "Are you going to announce to everyone that you and Molly are married?"

Conor glances at his feet, then looks up into Fergus's eyes with a twinkle in his own, "I thought me new father-in-law could handle that.....I'll show Molly where to put her clothes." And with that turns on his heel, taking Molly by the arm, and ushers her towards the entrance to his chamber. Fergus stands there, mouth agape, watching them hurry off, sudden realization dawning that Conor was bringing HIS DAUGHTER directly to his bed chamber.

Catlin and Tully look to see where Fergus stands staring and Tully with the most innocent expression in the world on his face says, "What's wrong Fergus?"

"Um, uh, I didn't think he ... um-m.. that is, I guess since they're wed, but... um-m-m-m ....."

Catlin smiles shyly and takes Fergus's arm in hers, leading him over to the campfire. "Sit down and gather yourself Fergus, you're stumbling all over your words. Here," handing him a drought of warmed ale, "drink this and calm yourself."

Fergus takes a long drought of the ale and wipes the back of his hand across his dampened mustache, "I just didn't think about Conor and Molly, um... you know...being "Catlin and Tully smile at each other, a little uncomfortable at having to comfort Fergus, because it's usually HIM that's the rock.

Catlin squats down in front of Fergus, gently touching his knee, "Well Fergus, they are wed now, they should share the same chamber, shouldn't they? But if it upsets you so, I'll ask Molly if she'd like to stay with me."

"I don't know what Conor would have to say about, I DO know." Fergus strokes his chin and looks over to Conor's chamber entrance, which none have come out of as yet.

"I suppose I should just mind my tongue. Molly's a grown woman and Conor's a grown man. They deserve to be happy with each other. I just have to think on this a while....and get used to it is all." Smiling, Catlin reaches up to hug Fergus briefly, "You're a good-hearted man Fergus, AND a good Da." Tully refills Fergus's mug, sharing a grin and a wink with Catlin above Fergus's head.

Inside Conor's chamber, Molly is slowly reconnoitering the room, carefully picking up an object and then replacing it where it stood. Conor stands in the middle of the room, watching silently as Molly circles, nervously awaiting a first word. "Well, you haven't gone to much trouble keeping your room clean. I'll need a good bucket and water to start." Conor, "You don't have to clean up after me Molly, I'll do it." He steps up to her and takes her hands in his, "You're here as the village Druid now, and my wife, not a charwoman." Touched by his words, suddenly Molly steps up to his face and kisses him hard on the mouth, holding him about his waist. Conor, momentarily startled, recovers quickly and leans into the kiss. His lips parting hers in an open mouthed lunge. This startles her in turn, who leans back and away, still holding him at the waist. "I - oh!" A smile spreads upon her face as she reaches up to kiss him again. This time Conor holds her tighter against his chest and hips, their full bodies pressed urgently together, he deepens the kiss and strokes the back of her hair and shoulders. Molly moans slightly and clutches at him tightly as well, hungrily kissing him in return. Then Conor pulls away, holding her a little from him and blurts out in a single breath, "Molly, we shouldn't start this right now. The others are waiting for us. I have to tell them about the Father and how you'll be the Druid presence here and Fergus wants to announce the marriage. Then they'll probably be some singing and dancing into the night, and, well, we just shouldn't start this right now." Molly, panting a little, blushes, starts to turn away from him, "You're right. I'm sorry, ... it's just that, well...." Conor sighs softly and takes her again in his arms smiling, "Hush, I know... I'm looking forward to us being together too. And we will.... later....." As he kisses her lightly once again and both walk back outside.

The camp had been gathering as Daniel spread the news. Conor and Molly join Fergus at the high point, looking out over the assembled group. Molly gives her Da a squeeze on the hand as she stands between him and Conor. "I'd like to begin with some very sad news from Cathbod. The Druid King, the Father, Glas, has been murdered by the hand of the Roman Longinus." An angry murmur ripples through the crowd, a man shouts out, "How'd that happen? Even the Druid King can'na be safe in his own fort?!" Conor, grim faced, "We don't know how the devil got past the guards, but the deed is done. The Druid elders will begin a new search for the Father as soon as they can." Another voice shouts aloud, "When do we ride for revenge! The Roman's must pay for this!!" The crowd takes up the cry and all order is lost. Fergus glances at Conor with concern, then leans over to him, "Stop this or they'll go off berserk!" Nodding, Conor raises his arms and shouts, "I know you're angry! But revenge is what the Roman's expect us to do! We can't yet beat them with our numbers so small, we need to plan our actions and not run off angry! " Most of the crowd sees the sense, and starts to quiet, but one voice again shouts, "What can we do then, but kill as many of them as we can?!" Murmuring again erupts, the peoples' faces turning dangerous and ugly. Their pain and hurt evident.

Again Conor steps forward, "I say again, we need to plan our actions ... what's the use in good, strong men going out and dying -- only to be over-run and the day lost?! Trust me! I'll lead you in victory and fight by your side, but we must act when it suits US, not play into the Roman's hands!" The crowd once again subsides, and before they can become newly inflamed, Fergus steps forward, "I have some happier news for 'ya! While we were at Cathbod, at the summons of the Father, a happy event took place!" Winks and grins at Molly with Conor shifting nervously on his feet. "My daughter Molly and Conor here were wed!" A stunned but brief silence follows only to be drowned out by a huge cheer and dozens of smiling faces and waving arms. "And the other part of it is that because we were traveling back here and had no place for privacy, they haven't had their wedding night yet!!" Another roar swells up from the crowd with men slapping each other on the backs, women smiling and laughing....

Conor looks aghast to Fergus, "Fergus!" Molly just smiles and blushes.

Fergus holds his arms up to quiet them somewhat, "We'll have to give them a send-off fit for a Prince!" Again a huge roar erupts and several men from in front jump up taking Conor onto their shoulders and hoisting him aloft. Another two men gently lift Molly aloft beside him and start to parade their way down into the heart of the camp. The sounds of drums, pipes, bells and harps break out from everywhere, filling the camp with joyous celebration. The previous anger quickly overshadowed and replaced. Fergus smiling finds Catlin and Tully, "Well, I timed that pretty well -didn't I?" Catlin grins at him, "I told you - you're a good man Fergus." Tully pulling Catlin along, "Hurry up, we'll miss the food, it'll be gone before we get any!" All three head off, following the raucous happenings in the camp heart.

The dancing and singing and orating of past victorious battles went on for some time, well past Moon rise and set. An incredible amount of ale was downed and it was a none too steady Conor that finally takes Molly away from the crowd towards his chamber. A small group sees them head off, and raises a cheer, among them Fergus who hefts his mug of ale in a silent salute to them both as they duck into the chamber doorway.

Conor has his arm about Molly's waist as he ushers her inside, half leading and half leaning on her. Molly holds him as well, laughing at the sight of him, "You shouldn't drink the ale if it unsteadies you husband." Conor weaves them over to the bedside and collapses hard into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. "I can'na argue w' tha... I should'na drank so much....." Molly smiles and leans over to kiss him gently on the cheek, "Maybe you should just sleep a while first? It would clear your head?" Shaking his head no, "I'm fine .. jus fine... I can perform my husban-y-y dut-duties jus fine..." Molly hugs him, smiles shyly and starts to unfasten the ties to his leather tunic. Conor grins and reaches for her gown, "I can help you too...." But before he can manage to undo anything, he falls backwards onto the bed -- the air in his stomach whooshing out in a great ale-inspired belch. He moans and tries to sit up, but ends mumbling incoherently about too many mugfuls, quickly trailing off into sleep. Molly quietly laughing and shaking her head continues with the lacings and frees him of the tunic. She admires his chest and arms, blushing to herself as she thinks of what lies ahead. Then she pulls off his boots, careful of the dagger sheath in the right leg-top and swings his legs up onto the bed. She considers removing his britches as he lay there breathing deeply, arms sprawled out to his side, but decides against it. 'Why ruin MY surprise,' she asks herself. She then undresses herself and climbs under the covers, pulling Conor under them with her.

Back at the Roman fort Diana and Longinus have just been presented with an emissary from one of the far-flung clans to the North. Longinus reclines sinuously against a couch carefully measuring the native representative and calculating his responses to Diana's questions as the man stands before them. Content to play the observer while Diana and her charms bleeds the man of every speck of information he has, even what he never intended to divulge.

"Is that all you have to tell me Trellor?" Diana sidles up to him brushing her fingertips across his check and neck, breathing her next words hotly across his face, "I can't believe you have NO opinion on this matter? Surely, an intelligent man such as yourself would have an opinion of his chieftain's motives? Why he would ally himself with us and against his own people?" She circles him closely, seeing the reaction she wanted as Trellor shifts nervously from foot to foot,

"Truly lady, I only speak what is given to me to say. Chief Morgan wishes you well and sees the value of aligning himself with those who will win this battle..."

Diana glances to Longinus, still listening alertly from the couch, "But surely you overheard some other talk while you were there, something that would be helpful to know ...." She brushes her fingertips again against him, feeling a trembling reply returned and grabs his arm sharply, digging her nails into his flesh, "Tell me everything or my friend here," nodding to Longinus," will feel the need to question you himself. Believe me that wouldn't be wise..." Trellor looks over to Longinus, not for the first time and senses the pure evil, invisibly snaking out from him and slithering towards the shaken man some eight feet away.

"Please lady .... " He starts to back away a sense of dread enfolding him.

Back in Conor & Molly's chamber where the young couple has slept two or so hours ....

A few candles had been left burning and were now much shortened, but their light still spilled into the room. Conor awakens on his back to find Molly draped across his chest, resting her cheek and breasts against his skin. The covers have been kicked asunder and he could see the length of her lying there against him, naked altogether. The sight of her, was all it took to stir him into full alertness, the ale-fog chased away with the remaining two hours of the night. Gently, he rolls her off himself, and stands to remove his britches, fumbling slightly with the lacings and glancing back at Molly lying on her stomach, still sleeping. Now naked as well, he climbs back onto the bed and lies close to her. Leaning in and reaching gently to her face, "Molly, wake up.... Molly?" He gently brushes her cheek with his fingertips, the electricity apparent even now, a tingling flowing between his touch and her cheek. Slowly, Molly stirs and opens her eyes, their faces are mere inches away, their bodies even closer. As he feels the heat of her body Conor peers into her eyes, a slow, crooked grin stirring at the corners of his mouth, softly whispers, "Since we're both awake now, it'd be a shame not to use the time...." Before he can finish Molly reaches to hold him and kisses him on the mouth, stifling the rest of his words. Their bodies roll into each other face to face. The electricity builds with the heat of the moment. Both kiss each other on the mouth, eyes, cheeks, necks. Two sets of hands reaching all over the other's body, touching and caressing. Arms and legs enfold each other. Their breathing quickens, the kisses are more brief, but frequent. The intensity quickly builds until finally, Conor rolls atop her and .....

Their breathing quickens, the kisses are more brief, but frequent. The intensity quickly builds until finally, Conor rolls atop her and, ... Catlin storms through the doorway screaming, "Conor!! Come help - oh God! --- Conor!!" He leaps off of Molly and rushes to grab Catlin by the arms, "What is it! Cat! Tell me!!" It hasn't yet occurred to either that he's standing there naked. Molly sits bolt upright holding the covers to herself, eyes wide in fear, ears straining to hear. Catlin takes a deep breath and blurts out, "It's Fergus! Some of the men got all drunk and started talk'in again about avenging the Father, one of them took a pick and hit Fergus ...he tried to stop them...... oh God, Conor he's HURT, come! COME!!" she frantically starts pulling him towards the doorway. Molly calls out, "Conor! Your britches!" and throws them to him as he turns. Catlin realizes that she'd been talking with him bare naked before her and blushes red as dawn, turning away, still breathing hard. With a worried face Molly is now out of bed and pulling on a gown as well, "I'll follow you - please be careful!" Conor struggles to get into the britches as fast as he can, nearly falling over onto Catlin. Leaving his boots and tunic behind, he grabs his sword from it's sheath and Cat's arm and flies out through the doorway. "Hurry, he's over there", Cat points to the other side of the waterfall where a small crowd was gathered, "Mother Ceridwen is tending him as best she can..." Cat trails off as they both run around the pool into the crowd. (Mother Ceridwen was an elderly woman with some healing abilities, who mostly helped with midwife duties to the women of the camp.) Fergus was lying on his back, his face a ghastly white, but remarkably calm looking. Conor pushes a few people out of his way and kneels down beside him, laying his sword near. Mother Ceridwen was just finishing bandaging his right shoulder. "Fergus! What happened?! How are you?" Conor breathes urgently. Fergus attempts a lopsided grin but it turns into a grimace. Voice calm, he looks to Conor, "I got in the way of an angry pickax...." Conor glances at the Mother, then back to Fergus, "Cat tells me one of our men did this ... ," then with a deeper, commanding tone, "tell me WHO Fergus." Fergus looks to the girl and locks eyes with Cat, who quickly glances away to her feet, biting her lower lip. Just then Molly comes running up, breathing hard and laying down a leather sachel beside her Da. "I have some ointment and herbs here to place on the wound... it will help stop the pain Da." She looks at her father's shoulder and bandage, avoiding his eyes, tears starting to stream down her cheeks. "Now girl, don't cry .. oh lad.. comfort her will 'ya?" Conor moves over to hold her, but she pushes him away. "Now don't you be telling me when I can cry lie still and let me help you." She starts to stuff some dried wads under the bandage. Standing up now, lowered sword in hand, Conor's face is darkened, his voice steady and deep, "Who's the man Fergus?!" Fergus sighing, "Now lad, he was drunk'er than me ... I know he was as surprised as I was."

"I don't care HOW drunk he was, I want his name." Then with quiet anger, "We don't attack each other here, whatever the cause!" The small crowd shuffles back, feeling their leaders' wrath building. Just then a man steps forward from the back of the gathering, looking like he'd been dragged behind a horse for a mile or more. "Conor! It's me you want .. I --I don't know how - I'm sorry ....." , the man trailing off as he locks eyes with the young and very angry leader. Conor drops his sword at his feet and steps towards the man with clenched fists. Catlin grabs Conor's arm, swinging herself between him and the man. "Conor, remember what you just said, we don't attack each other here!" He looks at her with flashing eyes, anger swelling up inside him. "Fergus is the closest thing to family I have left - he could have been killed! I won't suffer that lightly ...," then holding her arms and looking at the man, now standing alone from the crowd, "he challenges my authority by doing this, I said we would not seek to avenge the Father right now, he defies me before the people!"

The man swallows visibly, shifting nervously on his feet, but standing straight, steeling himself for what may come. Conor continues, "IFI'm to lead, I mustn't allow this to go by .... it would hurt me, the camp - the CAUSE!" Catlin sees the sense in his argument and stands away. Conor steps up to the waiting man, looks him in the eye, chest heaving in anger, fists clenched. "DO YOU CHALLENGE ME?! If so, here I am -- DO somethin' about it!"

The man flinches at first, then rallies himself. Quickly deciding on action, he takes a step back and throws a sidewinder. Conor blocks it with his left arm, coming up hard with his right fist to the man's stomach. The man doubles over but rushes in fast to head-butt Conor. Grabbing the man's shoulders as his head impacts his stomach, Conor falls deliberately backwards onto his back flinging the man over his head onto the ground. A resounding crash and groan from the man, as Conor leaps up and hurries to pin the man while he's down. Not yet beaten, the man rolls out of reach and grabs Conor's ankle yanking the lad down hard onto his back. The man reaches out and punches Conor hard in the nose. Both men roll away and stand. Immediately a stream of blood flows from Conor's nose. They stare down each other, crouched and circling, looking for an opportunity to pounce.

Molly, seeing the blood running down Conor's chest yells out, "Enough of this Conor - you man! Stop it!" Fergus has been watching intently, up on one elbow, holding his shoulder with the free hand. "Leave them be girl! They have to finish this!" The crowd was much larger now, but everyone was respectfully quiet, watching the fight. The two continue to circle, then a bloodied and angry Conor lunges, fists flying. They grapple with each other, close quarters, grunting in effort and neither giving ground. The excitement was bringing color back to Fergus's face, Molly sat with him looking on and worried. Catlin and Tully are helping to keep the crowd back, which was a task as everyone in camp had now gathered. Women were clasping children to their skirts, men were watching intently as the fight continues. The man can't seem to keep ahold of the sweat drenched, shirtless Conor, who keeps slipping out of each grasphold. Finally they push the other away and the man connects with another blow to Conor's chest. Reeling from the impact, he rolls away, wiping an arm across his mouth, bloodied from the nose bleed. He charges back at the man, head down and they both land crashing into the side of the crowd. Rearing up, Conor delivers a punishing right uppercut square into the man's jaw. Head snapping back, the man collapses under him, unconscious and still. Conor stands shakily, again running a hand across his mouth and stepping away from the inert body. The crowd cheers and closes in on Conor, men slapping his back and a woman offering her scarf to him to wipe his bloodied face.

Someone drags away the challenger. Conor makes his way back over to Fergus, who's smiling now with a healthier color to his face. Molly hurries to him, sachel in hand. "You done me proud Conor - that'll show him!" Molly takes his arm, "Now sit down and let me see that face." Mother Ceridwen, quiet until now says, "You need a cold compress on that nose to stop the flow." She hands Molly a cold, wet cloth which she immediately holds to Conor's face. The crowd, happy with the outcome and reassured of a strong leader, disperses, leaving Catlin, Tully, Molly and Mother tending to Fergus, who tries to stand, holding onto a rock for support. Conor and Tully rush to get under both arms, leaning Fergus on them. Mother Ceridwen again, "Bring him to his bed so he can rest, I'll make a poultice with some of the lasses herbs and bring it to 'ya." Molly hugs her and follows after her Da.

Longinus finishes wiping his hands on the cloth napkin, "Well, that was entertaining." He smiles to Diana who is still trying to calm herself after witnessing a very nasty bit of business between Longinus and the man Trellor. The guards haul away the man's mangled body, trying not to look at it too closely, they had just had supper. Diana gathers herself and says pointedly, "Now that he's dead, what do we tell his chieftain when he asks us what befell him?" Longinus moving like a cat, closes to where Diana lay on her couch. He brushes the long fingers of one hand through her hair, "Why worry about what hasn't yet come to pass? We'll contact this Morgan ourselves, claiming to have found the body on our way to his camp. Obviously the man was attacked by rival clan warriors. Nothing to do with us..." He smiles wickedly again, leaning over Diana, inhaling her perfume in a greedy breath. "Now, I'd like to lighten the mood, it's been a little too serious here this past hour..." He slips onto the couch beside her, pushing his body length against hers. A serving maid comes into the chamber holding a platter of fruit. She sees the two on the couch and stops in her tracks. Longinus raises a hand in dismissal, barely acknowledging her presence and adds, "See that we're not disturbed!" The girl leaves in a very big hurry, not daring to glance back and closes the chamber door solidly. "You have your odd moods Longinus, how can you even think of making love after what you did to that man?!" He merely grins and pulls her closer to him, stroking her shoulder and arm and cupping her breast through the silken gown.

"What I choose to do and when is my concern, yours is making sure I'm kept happy."

Diana rails at this demeaning remark and tries to roll away from him. He grabs her and holds her down on the cushions. Then, roughly strips the gown from her leaving her naked before him. He loosens his robe and lets it drop away. Smiling again he whispers in her ear, as he strokes her body and presses her deeper into the cushions, "Dear one, just relax and do what you do best, the whore of Rome is in her element."

Fergus was resting comfortably in his bed, the wound not as bad as first thought. He was being smothered with all kinds of attention. Conor sat alone to the side of the chamber holding the cold compress against his nose and watching Fergus enjoy being the center of attention. Molly glances over to Conor and stands walking over to him. She kneels down on one leg before him reaching up to look under the compress at his nose and asks, "How does it feel? Can you breath through it?" "Aye, it's just sore some." Then grinning, "I'll live." Then regretfully, "This wasn't what I had planned for our wedding night...." He trails off, replacing the compress to his face.

Molly blushes and strokes his cheek, "I know, neither did I, " then laughs, "But it'll be one to remember after all!" Conor grins back at her, then looks over to Fergus, questioning, "He'll be all right after a bit- right?" Molly nods yes and smiles seeing her Da greedily gulping down yet another mug of ale, (to kill the pain he says). Molly, turning serious asks, "What will become of that man?" Conor, also turning serious, "He's banned from the Sanctuary. He'll have to find his own way."

Fergus calls over to them, "What are you two still do'in here?! I'm in good hands, go see to yourselves now!" He WAS in good hands, about three pairs of them, all attached to pretty young lasses, helping Mother Ceridwen. One pair to straighten his pillow, another to refill his mug and yet another pair to rub his feet. And Mother Ceridwen hovering protectively nearby. They both grin back at him and, Conor standing, looks to Molly with a question in his eyes but leaves it unspoken. Keeping her tongue, she takes his hand in hers and leads him to the doorway, turning back to Fergus & calling out, "We'll leave you to your rest Da and be back in a bit to see you!" They pass through the doorway and with Molly continuing to lead a battered Conor by the hand they make their way back to THEIR chamber.

Once inside they pause in the middle of the room and stand facing each other. "You look a poor sight husband, all bruised and bloodied." Stroking his cheek gently and peering up into his brown eyes, softly, "What am I to do with 'ya?" Without a word he takes her to him and holding her firmly up against his bare chest, kisses her passionately. Slowly they begin to caress each other's body. His hand lingering on her breast, her hand lingering on the small of his back. She reaches for the lacings of his britches, deftly loosening them. He steps out, now naked. He pushes her gown down around her waist, loosening the tie holding it up, letting it fall to the ground at her feet. They kiss again and again, the caresses more urgent, the electricity between them once again as before. Conor breathes heavily and with some difficulty through a battered, swollen nose. His mouth otherwise involved with her mouth. The heat between them could ignite the night. Both of them ready now to accomplish what was interrupted from before. Conor now firm and straining picks Molly up in his arms and lays her upon the bed. He leans over her and whispers softly, "This night is ours." Then gently lowers himself down onto her waiting form. Molly welcomes him to her, a slow smile of satisfaction and triumph spreading across her face.

Morning comes streaming into the Sanctuary through air shafts in the cave ceiling. Seemingly magical beams of light sparkle with morning dew and dancing dust particles. Laughing children, always the first of the camp to rise, dodge each other playfully among the shining beams. Anyone witnessing this sight would swear to seeing fairies in flight about them as well. A new day for our wounded heroes and for those that love them.

Fergus awakens to a dull, but persistent pain in his temples. He shifts in his bed, forgetting to favor the wounded shoulder. He is rewarded with an even bigger pain from the arm. Grimacing, he sits himself up and realizes he really needs to relieve himself -- all that ale he drank has to go somewhere. Managing to stand, he weaves unsteadily and stumbling into the chamber wall and against his bad shoulder. He lets out a yell, more out of annoyance with himself than from pain. At that moment Mother Ceridwen enters and sees Fergus in difficulties. Unable to support him herself, she calls out the doorway for help.

Having stayed nearby during the night, Catlin and Tully hurry into the chamber, "What's wrong Mother?!" asks Cat. Mother gestures to Fergus, "This big man here is stumbling about un-do'in all my healing efforts - come sit him down!" she exclaims agitated. Tully had already moved to get under Fergus's good arm, steadying him.

"Good lad, I thank 'ya", then in an aside, "now steer me to me chamber pot!" Perceptively, Cat takes Mother by the arm and leads her outside.

This morning also finds our young lovers still abed, the small fire pit against the far wall gone cold. The candles are burned down and dark. The chamber is still and holds safe the secrets of the past night. Conor lies on his stomach with Molly partly upon him, her head and cheek cradled in the hollow of the small of his back. They both wear the contented expression of satisfied lovers. Both breathing deeply, almost in unison, the wonder and magic of the previous night filling their dreams. A small, cool breeze finds it's way into their chamber, passing over their uncovered bodies. Both shiver in their sleep and instinctively seek out the warmth of the other. Never fully awakening, they move to hold each other close, huddling in a warm embrace. Molly, now warmed, sighs contentedly. They sleep on.

The mounted Roman expedition of Diana and Longinus with their soldiers and slaves in tow make their way with all due deliberation towards the northern clan hold of Chieftain Morgan. They bring with them, the poor and now rotting body of the emissary, Trellor. Diana, wearied from the many miles of hard riding over rough terrain is in a mean humour. Longinus, with his uncanny perception, takes notice. Bringing his mount closer to hers, "Weary Diana? Where is all that Roman endurance?" spoken with a leer.

She turns uncomfortably in her saddle, and snaps back, "I'm not in the mood for your jibes Longinus, better to save your breath!" She notices the time of day and adds, "We should stop soon and set up camp, this land is difficult enough with light to see by."

Nodding in agreement, he raises his arm, bringing the party to a halt.

"Right here? There's no cover - we're out in the open!" Diana says, looking around them.

"But dear one, that would be just what is needed to strengthen our story for Morgan. I'm hoping for an attack on us. A few more bodies alongside Trellor's would make our little fiction more palatable to him. We can spare a few slaves, or men, for that matter." Longinus dismounts and sees the flashing of Diana's eyes before she speaks.

"We wouldn't need to BE on this entire ordeal if you hadn't lost control of yourself!!" Longinus reaches up to help her dismount and pulls her unceremoniously from her saddle. She falls against her horse who shies away, leaving her to crumble onto the ground. Bending over her, he grabs her by the hair and hauls her to her feet. She glares back at him, a whimper escaping her. The soldiers are witnessing all this but no one dares to intervene. They may have sworn allegiance to Diana and Rome, but they know where the real power lay. Aware of the soldiers' eyes, she attempts to gather her dignity and brushes some of the road dust from her clothes. "I don't think I'll ever be clean again! Look at all this dirt!"

Longinus smiling mischievously, "You've never looked more beautiful my dear...."

Later that evening in their tent, Diana is lounging on a couch, and Longinus paces the tent floor impatiently, waiting for the slaves to finish clearing away the remains of dinner before continuing the conversation.

Outside their tent, a stealthy figure waits in the shadows, one eye on the roaming guards and one ear on the talk from within the tent. Longinus was speaking annoyed, "If you had been successful with the man yourself I wouldn't have had to intervene. It was plain you were having the wrong effect on him, as usual." Diana sends him a killer look and huffs angrily. He continues, "Your charms failed you, but MY persuasion did not. Now we know that Morgan and King Derek had a long-standing blood feud. Which means, since Derek is dead, Conor now inherits, as he is the last remaining of Derek's blood. So our meeting with Morgan will be twofold. First to seal our alliance with him and his numerous tribe, replenishing our strength against the rebels. And no need to send to Rome for more troops, avoiding their questioning intrusion. Secondly, provoke Morgan into dealing with Conor for us. We will appeal to his sense of honor, they're big on honor on this island. Therefore, we gain strength to finally establish a firm Roman hold here and our annoying young Prince will go away to bother us no longer. We win in both respects." Pleased with himself, he sits down on his couch.

Diana, sensing he requires a reply to his oration, "Very good Longy, but what if this Morgan chooses to forgive the blood feud and spare Conor? He may well do, since Conor is so highly thought of. He may not take the risk for one young boy."

Longinus, already plotting the details in his mind, "Then, my dear, we will ensure that he does take the risk....." an evil smile spreads across his face.

The shadowy figure outside the tent turns carefully to leave. Quietly making his way to the outskirts of the camp and successfully remaining unobserved, he finds his mount hidden safely. Quickly, the rider makes his way back towards the Sanctuary, more than a day and night away. His errand is crucial, his information dire! Conor must be warned!

Gentle readers, so ends The Eternal - Part 2. The rest of our story will unfold in another manifestation of fanfic as this one is much too long already. Thanks for your patience.

I'm informed that an epic battle may be in the works! Stay tuned.......